Behaviorally Biased Consumers and Energy Efficiency Retrofits

Last registered on September 08, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Behaviorally Biased Consumers and Energy Efficiency Retrofits
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0008150
Initial registration date
September 07, 2021
Last updated
September 08, 2021, 4:58 PM EDT

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
University of Mannheim

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
TU Dortmund

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2021-08-26
End date
2021-09-30
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
In this study, we explore how consumer inattention and imperfect information affect retrofit decisions of homeowners. We conduct an incentivized experiment in a representative survey that allows us to quantify the magnitude and the heterogeneity of behavioral biases in retrofit decisions.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Gerster, Andreas and Michael Kramm. 2021. "Behaviorally Biased Consumers and Energy Efficiency Retrofits." AEA RCT Registry. September 08. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.8150-1.0
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
We conduct an incentivized experiment within a representative survey. Participants obtain a budget which they can spend on one of two options to retrofit their home. We elicit their baseline willingness-to-pay for improvements in energy efficiency. In addition, we conduct a debiasing experiment that is based on personalized information about the implications of the retrofit options for the home of the participants.
Intervention Start Date
2021-08-26
Intervention End Date
2021-09-30

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Willingess-to-pay for energy efficiency (measured in units of residential heat energy consumption per square footage and annum).
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
We use a multiple price list approach to elicit willingness-to-pay. We code willingness-to-pay at the midpoints of the intervals from our multiple price lists.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We conduct a debiasing experiment where participants in the treatment group obtain personalized information about the energy and monetary savings of two retrofit decisions while participants in the control group do not obtain such information.
Experimental Design Details
Our experiment proceeds in three steps:
First, we elicit baseline WTP for implementing the comprehensive rather than the basic heating system optimization (in EUR per kWh saved).
Second, we show a screen that provides participants in the treatment group with personalized information about the energy efficiency improvements and the financial savings based on an engineering model used by professional energy advisors to calculate the efficiency rating displayed on energy performance certificates of buildings (Institut Wohnen und Umwelt (IWU): Kurzverfahren Energieprofil). Participants in the control group are informed about the evolution of heating system optmizations in Germany over time without providing any information on the relative advantages of different optimization options.
Third, we elicit endline WTP for implementing the comprehensive rather than the basic heating system optimization.

To test for potential experimenter demand effects, we also conduct a second treatment and control group. In these groups, we do not elicit baseline WTP and provide the same information as in the treatment and control group.
In an additional control group, we skip the control group screen. this group allows us to test whether the control group information has an effect on participants' responses.
Randomization Method
Randomization done by survey tool employed by the market research institute forsa.
Randomization Unit
Home owner
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
4000
Sample size: planned number of observations
4000
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
1000
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number

Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
No
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?
No

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials